This past Saturday I took my daughters to a carnival on the West Side. We had come earlier in the week to visit the zoo and noticed the Carnival setting up and the girls got really excited about coming back for the rides and games. I can't do amusement park rides because I get motion sickness. This was even the case when I was little and the traveling carnivals would come to Kentwood Town & Country Shopping Center in the 60s. Regardless of my reservations, the girls were all about coming back.
We bought $40 worth of tickets and the girls went on as many rides as they could and loved every minute of it. I walked with them from one ride to the next and just sort of sunk into the environment as an observer. It was so interesting being there and observing the patrons milling around. There were lots of teenagers. It seemed like the girls had spent a lot of time picking out there outfits and putting on their makeup. The boys for the most part looked like they just showed up.
The kind of people that typically visit this kind of place look pretty rough and tumble, salt of the earth kind of people. Carnivals are not really places of refinement, they feel more like a Bruegel painting. I like this about them because they seem to have preserved a certain ancient quality of down-to-earth, "I've got a day off and I want to spend some money having fun" spirit that is still embedded in the culture.